Have you heard of the dangerous dog law in Colorado? Perhaps you didn’t take the title seriously, but the law’s no joke.
Every year over 350,000 dog bite victims nationwide visit the emergency room for treatment for their injuries according to dogbitelaw.com. Over 850,000 will get medical help as a result of a dog bite.
But only around 15,000 dog bite victims will receive any compensation from insurance companies to treat their injuries. Nationwide, the average insurance payment for a dog bite is $29,752. Insurance company payouts have increased by over 50% in the past decade alone.
Colorado Dangerous Dog Law
In the state of Colorado, a dog’s behavior can be defined based on its past history.
This history can include the type of harm they’ve been held responsible for and how it impacted the victim (animal or human). To set a legal means to determine a dog’s status, a “Dangerous Dog law” has been established in Colorado.
We’ll help you to understand what this law means and how it is going to impact various parties including dog owners in the state of Colorado.
This information is important and should be kept in mind for anyone living in Colorado or moving to the region with their pet dog.
Let’s begin with the law itself.
As one of Colorado’s most complex criminal statutes, 18-9-204.5 C.R.S. is difficult to explain in one short article, but we’ll cover key parts of the law.
If you have specific questions about the dangerous dog law, feel free to call our office at (719) 387-4111.
In general, a person is liable for any dog in his/her ownership that has been declared a “dangerous dog” due to its action(s).
The person is liable for owning, controlling, and/or showing interest in a dangerous dog with the goal of ownership. A set of penalties are listed for individuals who display one of these concerns in relation to a dangerous dog in Colorado.
What Is A “Dangerous Dog”?
To be labeled as a dangerous dog, a dog has to show a specific set of characteristics including past behavior.
- Violent Tendencies Which May Cause Harm To Person/Animal
- Trained in Animal Fighting
- Injured or Killed Animal/Person
If the dog fits any of these requirements, it’s immediately deemed a dangerous dog. A person is not allowed to own a dog that the dangerous dog label and will incur significant penalties (misdemeanor or felony) if caught doing so.
To make things easier for current and future dog owners, a registry is set up to declare these dogs as “dangerous” according to the established standards.
If this registry isn’t checked, the person is held liable for showing interest and/or owning the dog.
Penalties For Having A Dangerous Dog
What are the penalties for owning a dog in this registry?
- Jail/Prison Time
- Court-Ordered Obligations (Community Service/Restrictions on Ownership)
- Payment of Damages
Please note these are dependent on the case’s variables and are assessed by an established legal authority. These penalties are guidelines and act as a way to afford means to hold the accused liable.
Some of the factors which may play a role in depending the severity of one’s punishment include:
- Amount of Damage Caused
- Type of Attack
- First Offense
- Prior Criminal History
All of these details play a role in how the judge perceives this action and how the individual is punished for the crime.
In some cases, the judge may decide it is best to have a combination of penalties based on the individual’s conduct. This includes jail time, fines, and community service. In severe cases, the dog may face euthanasia along with additional punishment for the owner.
What is the highest level of punishment a convicted person may face?
- 3 Years in Prison
- $100,000 in Fines
In some cases, this may be added as a combination in instances where multiple offenses occurred. This is up to the judge’s discretion and the evidence on hand.
Can such dangerous dog law charges be defended?
Yes, these charges can be defended in the court of law depending on the circumstances in which an attack occurred. The law understands each case is unique including the details behind why an attack took place.
- Danger to Animal or Owner
- Hunting/Herding Leading To Attack
- Dog Wasn’t Properly Labelled As “Dangerous”
For dog owners, it’s best to have a good understanding of the breed and know whether or not it has a history of being violent. This can make it easier to determine whether or not the ownership is legal.
If you have been the victim of a dog bite, don’t hesitate to get medical attention immediately. Then, give our office a call at (719) 387-4111 to schedule your free consultation to begin the process of getting your fair and just compensation for your injuries.